Safety Grid Rowing Zones

Loop Rowing
Loop Rowing
Updated: May 10, 2022

Rowing Zones

  Loop Rowing Safety Boat Rowing Buddy Rowing Open Rowing
Docks closed during periods of high current or high winds
(Current flow ~10km/h or winds causing white caps)
Water Temp Very Cold
NOTE: Speeds, temperatures and other numeric data above are given only as a guide in determining the rowing zone for the current conditions.
Based on the above zones, the following rules must be observed to access the water:
Skill Level No Novice Crews1
Coach’s discretion for other crews. Due to Safety Boat to Shell Ratio2 restrictions, priority given to crews training for an upcoming regatta
Coach’s Discretion
Shell Type 4-Oar Rule3 All Shells
Rower Restrictions Shells are restricted to rowing loops within sight of the WRC dock. All crews must be familiar with the Boat Rescue Procedure4 prior to launching. Shells are to remain within sight of a safety boat at all times, but are permitted to travel away from the WRC dock. It is the responsibility of the rower to ensure they are within proper distance of the safety boat. Shells must remain in visual distance of a safety boat or another shell None
Rower PFD Requirement Must be in each shell; one per person Must be in each shell unless accompanied by a properly equipped safety boat
Safety Boat Equipment Requirement5 Sufficient safety boats to carry largest crew being supervised (rowers & cox). Safety Boat to Shell Ratio2 subject to the ability of the safety boat operator. Safety boat required; no restrictions on ratio, subject to Coach’s discretion. Safety boat not required by adults; subject to Coach’s discretion

The above chart is simply a guide used to determine whether WRC docks are open, and to which types and sizes of crew, with restrictions designed to promote increased safety.  Due to the inherent risks associated with the sport of rowing, it is up to each individual to take precautions appropriate to the conditions to ensure their own safety; especially in extreme temperatures where the risk of hyper- or hypothermia are greatest.  What’s right for one crew, may be dangerous for another.  At all times, common sense should prevail, and you should take into account your own abilities and limitations when making the decision to set out on the water.

Rowing Hours: No boats are to launch earlier than 5:00 a.m., 30 minutes before sunrise, or in periods of restricted visibility.  Restricted visibility is defined as thick fog or falling snow which reduces visibility to less than the width of the river.  No boats are to be on the water past sunset.  Crews wishing to launch before dawn or row past sunset must be equipped with proper navigation lights as stipulated by Transport Canada regulations.  Those lights include a red port-side light, green starboard-side light and a white stern light.  Sunrise and sunset times will be posted in the boathouse.

1 Novice Crews: A crew where more than half the members are inexperienced. In order for a crew not to be considered novice, at least half of the members must be experienced rowers, and where a cox is not used (for smaller boats, an experienced rower must be in bow.

2 Safety Boat to Shell Ratio: Under adverse conditions, it is prudent to limit the number of shells on the water, as there is more of a risk when a safety boat operator must keep track of multiple rowing shells. A ratio of 3:1 is generally acceptable when dealing with a group of fairly experienced rowers. Ultimately the decision is left to the safety boat operator who can take into consideration his/her own ability as well as the abilities of the crews he/she is supervising.

3 4-Oar Rule: This allows the rowing of shells with 4 or more oars. This includes, but is not limited to doubles (2x), fours (4- or 4+), quads (4x) or eights (8+). Shells, such as singles (1x) or pairs (2- or 2+) must observe the buddy system and row with another shell of similar speed, remaining within 200 m of each other at all times while on the water in order to assist in the event a shell comes into danger.

4 Boat Rescue Procedure: In the event a rowing shell is in danger on the water (flips, or some other dangerous situation), the rowers should make every effort to blow their whistle to get the attention of the safety boat. The safety boat sounds their horn which indicates a danger situation. All other rowing shells must immediately return to the dock and await the safety officer’s instruction before proceeding back on the water. The safety boat would then deal with the shell in danger, ensuring all participants are safe before resuming rowing.

5 Safety Boat Equipment Requirement: Each safety boat should be equipped at all time with a working means of communication (cell phone), sufficient PFDs and thermal blankets for the largest crew being supervised, paddle, step ladder, large bailer, whistle/horn, tow line, first aid kit and watertight flashlight.